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Biogeochemistry of iron in coastal Antarctica: isotopic insights for external sources and biological uptake in the Amundsen Sea polynyas
Tian, H.-A.; van Manen, M.H.; Bunnell, Z.B.; Jung, J.; Lee, S.H.; Kim, T.-W.; Reichart, G.-J.; Conway, T.M.; Middag, R. (2023). Biogeochemistry of iron in coastal Antarctica: isotopic insights for external sources and biological uptake in the Amundsen Sea polynyas. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 363: 51-67.
In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Elsevier: Oxford,New York etc.. ISSN 0016-7037; e-ISSN 1872-9533, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords

    GEOTRACES; Trace metals; Isotopic compositions; Biogeochemistry

Auteurs  Top 
  • Tian, H.-A.
  • van Manen, M.H., meer
  • Bunnell, Z.B.
  • Jung, J.
  • Lee, S.H.
  • Kim, T.-W.
  • Reichart, G.-J., meer
  • Conway, T.M.
  • Middag, R., meer

    Seasonal phytoplankton blooms in the Antarctic Amundsen Sea Polynyas are thought to be supported by an external supply of iron (Fe) from circumpolar deep waters, benthic sediments, and/or ice shelf meltwaters. However, largely due to the limited amount of Fe data reported for the Amundsen Sea Polynyas, understanding of the sources and processes that affect the biogeochemistry of Fe in this region (notably within the ice shelf system) remains limited. Here, we present the first investigation of dissolved Fe isotope distributions (δ56Fe) along the conveyer belt of waters into and through the Amundsen Sea, via the Dotson Ice Shelf, from samples collected during austral summer (2017–2018). Our dataset allows us to characterize and compare the dissolved δ56Fe signatures of incoming modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW) and of sedimentary sources on the continental shelf. The range in dissolved δ56Fe (–1 to +0.1 ‰) observed in the Amundsen Sea close to the seafloor, coupled with elevated dissolved Fe concentrations (up to 1.6 nmol/L), suggests that Fe is released from shelf sediments via a combination of reductive and non-reductive processes, with non-reductive dissolution input being relatively more important (20–56 %) than reductive dissolution (4–12 %). Near the Dotson Ice Shelf, the δ56Fe in the mCDW inflow (–0.70 ‰) was lower than the mCDW outflow (–0.23 ‰), whereas any change in dissolved Fe concentrations was negligible. We speculate that this shift in dissolved δ56Fe underneath the ice shelf is driven by a combination of enhanced preservation (and addition) of lithogenic colloidal Fe(III) and/or complexation with Fe-binding ligands, together with a differential loss of Fe2+. We also found distinct δ56Fe signatures in surface waters of the polynya, with apparent preferential uptake of isotopically light Fe in a bloom dominated by diatoms leading to a relatively heavy remnant dissolved δ56Fe signature of +1.06 ‰, compared to a bloom dominated by haptophytes where more modest and variable isotope fractionation was observed. The different isotopic composition between the two regions could be related to the dominance of different species, but this remains speculative. Despite prominent biological uptake, we suggest that other factors such as rapid recycling (e.g., adsorption and regeneration), bacterial regeneration, and complexation with organic ligands, together with the supply of lithogenic particles also play important roles in setting surface dissolved δ56Fe in the Amundsen Sea Polynyas. Overall, this study provides a further understanding of the external Fe sources and the biogeochemical processes in the Amundsen Sea and thus a baseline on how changing conditions in Antarctica can affect Fe cycling in the Southern Ocean and beyond.

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